Silicon Valley start-up Willow Garage has put its PR2 robot on general sale. The robot’s two gripper-equipped arms, laser scanner and multiple cameras allow it to fold towels, fetch a beer, hold a cue stick, and plug itself in when it needs to recharge. Willow Garage develops hardware and open source software for personal robotics applications. Its team includes experts in robot design, control, grasping/ manipulation, perception, and machine learning.
Willow Garage was one of the original founders of the Robot Operating System (ROS). According to Willow Garage, the ROS software is BSD-licensed, making it completely free for anyone to use and change, and is free for other companies to commercialize on.
In 2010, Willow Garage distributed 11 PR2 Beta robots at no cost to leading research institutions in robotics. Some institutions included the University of Southern California, Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania, GRASP Lab. Stefan Schaal’s group at the University of Southern California says its open software will help speed the rate of progress in robotics research. He adds, “Every new group can directly build on a large body of knowledge that has already been added to the open software repository.”
Source: Willow Garage